Thursday, October 9, 2008


Rencana yang dipetik daripada 'Malay Mail' ini semalam, adalah susulan daripada entri sebelum ini.

By Zainal Epi October 08, 2008
UMNO supreme council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is set to pull out of the race for deputy presidency. So, for now, apparently the contest is down to a handful of candidates, namely vice-presidents Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, and former vice-president Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad.

While the first two have yet to announce their candidacies, Mohd Ali, who is Malacca Chief Minister, made known his intention last week. It is learnt that Zahid, a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, decided to pull out of the race after meeting Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak yesterday.

This will pave an easier path for Muhyiddin, who appears to be the candidate favoured by party members and the grassroots for the post at the party elections scheduled for March.

The veteran, who has had his ups and downs in the party since the 80s, can expect most Umno divisions to nominate him for the post when their various annual general meetings are held over the next one month, beginning Friday.

According to several division heads, the 60-year old International Trade and Industry Minister, who has been in the Cabinet since Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's administration, should be given the chance to be elevated.

The comments came yesterday, a day before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was to announce his decision on whether to stay on or relinquish his president's post in March, after chairing a Barisan Nasional (BN) Supreme Council meeting this afternoon.
Abdullah was to meet with the King in the morning before chairing the weekly Cabinet meeting, which will be followed by the BN meeting.

Abdullah is not expected to seek re-election in March, thereby handing over the party presidency and the Prime Minister's post to Najib.

His announcement is expected to result in a mad scramble for the position of party deputy president, who will automatically become the deputy prime minister.

Giving reasons of "wanting to make changes" to the party so as to remain relevant to the Malays and Malaysians come the next general election due in 2013, these candidates will have four months to lobby the 2,000-odd delegates who will be elected by the respective 191 Umno divisions in the country by Nov 9.

However, several party stalwarts are worried that more candidates will join the fray. They voiced their disgust at that, feeling it would make a mockery of the position and the party.

Four candidates had previously confirmed their candidacies - vice-president Mohd Ali, supreme council member Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Pulai Umno division head Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed and, until yesterday, Zahid.

Waiting to announce their decisions after Abdullah's announcement today are Muhyiddin, Isa, party information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib and party stalwart Datuk Seri Rais Yatim.

Isa, when contacted, said he would make his stand known within two to three days.
"I will announce whether I will go for the vice-presidency or deputy presidency. Just be patient," he said.

As for Muhammad, it is learnt that he voiced his intention to go for the post to Selangor Umno liaison committee members, comprising the State's division chiefs, at a meeting yesterday.

Sources said all the 15 divisions in the State would nominate him for the deputy presidency.
Muhyiddin, who was said to be Abdullah's preferred choice for deputy president when the latter took over the reins from Tun Dr Mahathir in 2002, last month, called for the succession issue to be expedited instead of waiting until 2010.

Candidates need 38 nominations from Umno divisions to contest for the deputy president's post, according to the party's quota system. Each division is allowed to nominate only one candidate for the post.

Given the procedure, only five candidates can qualify to contest the post of deputy president, thus the intense lobbying behind the scenes. However, if one candidate gets more than 80 nominations, only two candidates will contest.

Many have predicted that Muhyiddin is expected to get more than the quota required, thus making it more difficult for the other contenders. The run-up to March should be interesting for both insiders and Umno watchers.

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